CONCESSION OF THE DAY…. Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) were on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” this morning, discussing health care. Ryan argued that, despite what we’ve been led to believe, he and his Republican colleagues believe reforming the system is very important.
It led to an interesting exchange:
Frank: “Paul, when did you figure that out? Because apparently, for the 12 years Republicans were in control, eight of which we had a Republican President, that hadn’t occurred to you. So I’m glad you now understand that. But can you tell me, at what moment — at what moment the revelation occurred?”
Ryan: “The first bill I introduced on this subject was about six years ago.”
Frank: “Yeah but you had control of the Congress, why didn’t the Republican Congress act on it?”
Ryan: “I will have a moment of bipartisan agreement. We should have fixed this under our watch and I’m frustrated we didn’t.”
To clarify just a little further, “we should have fixed this” is underselling what transpired. Republicans made no effort — literally, none at all — to reform the broken system. The number of uninsured kept growing; premiums kept soaring, systemic pressures kept depressing wages, and Republicans didn’t just fail to fix the problem for more than a decade, they pretended the problem didn’t exist. It wasn’t a priority.
These same GOP lawmakers did, however, find time to consider constitutional amendments on gay marriage and flag burning.
Update: Amanda Terkel has the video of the exchange.